Israeli Warplanes Hit 100 Hamas Targets After Rocket Attack

Erika Holt
March 17, 2019

The fighting came as Egyptian mediators were trying to extend a cease-fire between the bitter enemies, which last fought a war in 2014.

Shortly before the rocket attack, Hamas police on Thursday violently broke up a rare protest by demonstrators angry about the dire living conditions in Gaza.

Fighter jets and helicopters struck around 100 Hamas targets inside the Gaza Strip, the army said, including sites affiliated with the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades (Hamas's armed wing) and Saraya al-Quds (Islamic Jihad's armed wing).

The Israeli military said it was targeting "terror sites" in Gaza, but gave no further details.

Sirens rang out in southern Israel early Friday and the Israeli military said it identified four "launches" from Gaza.

This is a breaking news story and is constantly being updated.

Smoke and flames are seen during an Israeli air attack on Gaza on Friday.

United Nations bodies, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and other groups repeatedly slammed the violence along the Gaza border, demanding Israel to stop committing alleged war crimes in the area.

The escalation followed weeks of growing tensions and came at an especially sensitive time ahead of Israel's April 9 elections.

It was unclear where those rockets landed, but Israel's military reported no damage or injuries.

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The officials were quoted Friday in Israeli media. The assessment indicated that Hamas had no intention of escalating violence with Israel.

Israeli officials say that amounts to calling for the Jewish state's destruction, and accuse Hamas, the Islamist movement that runs the Gaza Strip, of orchestrating the protests.

Pompeo's interview was recorded on Thursday, before Israeli defense officials said the Gaza rockets had been fired by mistake.

Tel Aviv's mayor, Ron Huldai, told Israeli television he believes one rocket fell into the sea.

In the bustling coastal city of Tel Aviv, sirens wailed late Thursday in scenes reminiscent of the 2014 war between Israel and Gaza militants. Israel and Hamas have fought three wars since Hamas sized control of Gaza in 2007.

Pompeo also defended the administration's work toward a denuclearization deal with North Korea, saying real progress was made in Hanoi even though a final agreement was not reached.

Islamic Jihad, an Iranian-backed militant group that also has a large rocket arsenal, also denied firing the rockets.

Despite its denial, Hamas is one of the only groups in Gaza with the means to strike Tel Aviv.

Danon slammed Hamas saying it uses civilians "as human shields" and that "a terrorist organization that tries to harm Israel will encounter a relentless and uncompromising force".

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